The oldest trace that I have of our Cameron family in Scotland is the birth of Donald Cameron in 1742 at Ardclach, Nairnshire. His parents were John Cameron and Jan McWeeban. I don’t know their occupation but at that time about ninety percent of the population worked in some sort of agricultural capacity, particularly if they were in a rural area. Just four years later, in 1746, the Battle of Culloden was fought about a dozen miles away. Clan Cameron was in that battle, on the losing side, supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie Stuart, but I have not discovered if any of our direct ancestors participated. But, our family was definitely living in the area at the time.
In 1776, Donald Cameron, now aged 24, married Jean Urquart and they had at least three children. They lived in or near the small village of Auldearn, just a couple of miles from the town of Nairn. [I do not have death dates for this Donald or his wife.)
Nairn was an ancient fishing port. Today it has a population of about 12,000 and two fine golf courses. The more famous one is the Nairn Golf Club which runs along the seaside,” with beautiful sea views from every hole” according to the tourist bureau!
Donald and Jean’s son John Cameron (1781-1853) in 1812 married Janet Laing (1785-1864) of Rafford, Morayshire. They had six sons, all born and raised at Auldearn, Nairnshire..
John and Janet’s eldest son was Donald Cameron (1813-1867). He worked as a blacksmith. As a young man he moved further south for work in Kincardineshire & Aberdeenshire and married Ann Watson (1818 -1908) there in 1843. Their seven children were born and raised in the parish of Maryculter, Kincardineshire, just a few miles from the city of Aberdeen.
Their eldest son was John Cameron (1845-1932). As a young man he worked as a blacksmith with his father but he decided to become a veterinarian and trained at the Veterinary School associated with the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1869 or 1870. Blacksmiths in those days did a lot of work with horses, making horseshoes and shoeing horses so probably veterinary studies seemed a natural next step.
Shortly after John graduated he was hired to be the veterinarian for the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Berwick is situated on the Tweed River, which on the east side of Scotland, acts as the boundary between England and Scotland.
Towns in those days used horses for a lot of municipal tasks – hauling supplies for road work, trash collection, etc. -so needed the regular services of a vet for their stable of working horses. John also set up a private veterinary practice in the town on Bridge Street. In 1873 he married Mary Fyfe (1848-1940) of Peterculter, Aberdeenshire. John and Mary lived and worked for about fifty years in Berwick, raising five children – Mary, Jean, Donald, Violet, and John.
Their third child and first son was my grandfather Donald Duncan Cameron (1878-1941). His younger brother, John Cameron (1883-1920), became a veterinarian like their father but Donald wanted to be a farmer. At the time of the 1901 census Donald, aged 22, was working as “an apprentice farmer”, and boarding with a family of Allans near Cornhill-on-Tweed , about fifteen miles west of Berwick–on-Tweed. This is where he met his future wife, Isabella Brownlees (1874-1958) whose grand-parents, Peter and Sarah (Short) Allan lived nearby. Donald came to Canada in 1905. Isabella came out in 1908 and they were married at Daybreak Church which was located eight or nine miles from Virden, in the Laggan district.
Donald and Isabella Cameron raised their five children: Duncan Fyfe (1909-1977), Sarah Short (1910-1992), Donald Ian (1912-1998), Kenneth Brownlee (1914-2005), and Leonard Allan (1917-1997) on their farm at Woodnorth, Manitoba.